All Posts   Posted:   June 23, 2016 by Nicole Forbes - Dennis' 7 Dees Education

I will be the first one to tell you that I absolutely love plants and believe that spending time outdoors surrounded by the beauty we help to create is one of the best uses of one’s time, energy and resources. At the heart of it all, I garden for myself; I enjoy selecting plants for my garden, I situate and plant them with care and lovingly nurture them as they grow. It was only after I began planting my garden that I considered how it benefited my neighborhood and my community as a whole. I’d like to think that many of the hobbies & activities that I enjoy play a positive role in the world and help bring about a better tomorrow. This is just the case with gardening; many of the plants we choose for our containers, gardens & landscapes may also serve a greater cause and take on deeper meaning when selected with intent and a purpose.

In celebration of National Pollinator Week (June 20-26), let’s talk about planting a garden for pollinators. Multiple critical issues for bees as well as disappearing pollinator habitats are frequent story topics in our daily news and social media circles. As serious as these problems are it is easy to feel overwhelmed but we all have the ability to play a role in helping with a solution by planting a pollinator garden! Several groups have joined together around this issue and have started the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of pollinators across America. According to their website  “Pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we take each day and yet pollinators are at a critical point in their own survival. Many reasons contribute to their recent decline. We know for certain, however, that more nectar and pollen sources provided by more flowering plants and trees will help improve their health and numbers. Increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country”.

Looking out for these vulnerable yet invaluable communities is easy and can be done with any size of property whether you have a patio/balcony, residential-sized lot, large commercial property or rural acreage. It all begins with some plants and a purpose.

Tips for a successful pollinator garden:

  • Use an assortment of nectar and pollen plants
  • Provide a water source (bird bath, water feature, shallow saucer with rocks & water)
  • Site in a sunny area with wind breaks
  • Plant large pollinator “targets” (multiples) of native or non-invasive plants
  • Establish continuous bloom throughout the growing season (something always in flower)
  • Eliminate or minimize the impact of pesticides

Home gardeners can also add nesting sites for mason bees and/or summer leafcutter bees to boost their numbers and increase backyard pollination of flowers and food crops. Mason bees are out very early in the spring and are best for pollinating fruit trees and other early-season crops while summer leafcutter bees (as the name implies) are out during summer months and are very efficient pollinators of summer crops such as corn, beans and squash. Simple kits are available at our garden centers to help you create a nesting site for either or both of these solitary, non-aggressive bees and you can even get leafcutter bees shipped to your home. Be sure to provide the leafcutters with the plants that they use for nesting or they won’t stay in your yard; they prefer leaves that are not too thick or too thin and with few veins (favorites are rose, lilac, dogwood & epimedium leaves). When you have leafcutters nesting you will see their tell-tale signs: a series of circular or semi-circular holes cut into the edge of leaves from the preferred plants listed above. Instead of reaching for an insecticide to “protect” your plants, jump for joy because you are protecting our pollinators (and your plants will be just fine too)! Summer leafcutter holes on Epimedium leaf are shown here.

In addition to creating a pollinator garden you can take a few additional steps to make a greater impact:

  • Register your garden to bee counted on the Million Pollinators website
  • Take the Pollination Protection Pledge
  • Garden sustainably and bee smart about pollinator-safe garden products
  • Spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors

The Million Pollinator Gardens website sums up their efforts in this statement – “We will move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat”. I think this is something we can all get behind – stop in and chat with one of our plant experts to find out how to get involved… perhaps gardening can help to save the world!

I will be the first one to tell you that I absolutely love plants and believe that spending time outdoors surrounded by the beauty we help to create is one of the best uses of one’s time, energy and resources. At the heart of it all, I garden for myself; I enjoy selecting plants for my garden, I situate and plant them with care and lovingly nurture them as they grow. It was only after I began planting my garden that I considered how it benefited my neighborhood and my community as a whole. I’d like to think that many of the hobbies & activities that I enjoy play a positive role in the world and help bring about a better tomorrow. This is just the case with gardening; many of the plants we choose for our containers, gardens & landscapes may also serve a greater cause and take on deeper meaning when selected with intent and a purpose.

In celebration of National Pollinator Week (June 20-26), let’s talk about planting a garden for pollinators. Multiple critical issues for bees as well as disappearing pollinator habitats are frequent story topics in our daily news and social media circles. As serious as these problems are it is easy to feel overwhelmed but we all have the ability to play a role in helping with a solution by planting a pollinator garden! Several groups have joined together around this issue and have started the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of pollinators across America. According to their website  “Pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we take each day and yet pollinators are at a critical point in their own survival. Many reasons contribute to their recent decline. We know for certain, however, that more nectar and pollen sources provided by more flowering plants and trees will help improve their health and numbers. Increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country”.

Looking out for these vulnerable yet invaluable communities is easy and can be done with any size of property whether you have a patio/balcony, residential-sized lot, large commercial property or rural acreage. It all begins with some plants and a purpose.

Tips for a successful pollinator garden:

  • Use an assortment of nectar and pollen plants
  • Provide a water source (bird bath, water feature, shallow saucer with rocks & water)
  • Site in a sunny area with wind breaks
  • Plant large pollinator “targets” (multiples) of native or non-invasive plants
  • Establish continuous bloom throughout the growing season (something always in flower)
  • Eliminate or minimize the impact of pesticides

Home gardeners can also add nesting sites for mason bees and/or summer leafcutter bees to boost their numbers and increase backyard pollination of flowers and food crops. Mason bees are out very early in the spring and are best for pollinating fruit trees and other early-season crops while summer leafcutter bees (as the name implies) are out during summer months and are very efficient pollinators of summer crops such as corn, beans and squash. Simple kits are available at our garden centers to help you create a nesting site for either or both of these solitary, non-aggressive bees and you can even get leafcutter bees shipped to your home. Be sure to provide the leafcutters with the plants that they use for nesting or they won’t stay in your yard; they prefer leaves that are not too thick or too thin and with few veins (favorites are rose, lilac, dogwood & epimedium leaves). When you have leafcutters nesting you will see their tell-tale signs: a series of circular or semi-circular holes cut into the edge of leaves from the preferred plants listed above. Instead of reaching for an insecticide to “protect” your plants, jump for joy because you are protecting our pollinators (and your plants will be just fine too)! Summer leafcutter holes on Epimedium leaf are shown here.

In addition to creating a pollinator garden you can take a few additional steps to make a greater impact:

  • Register your garden to bee counted on the Million Pollinators website
  • Take the Pollination Protection Pledge
  • Garden sustainably and bee smart about pollinator-safe garden products
  • Spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors

The Million Pollinator Gardens website sums up their efforts in this statement – “We will move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat”. I think this is something we can all get behind – stop in and chat with one of our plant experts to find out how to get involved… perhaps gardening can help to save the world!